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Firefox – better free browser?

As you might know, anytime you’re looking at SVMHA or any website you’re using a type of software called a web browser. The three browsers you’re most likely to be using or have heard of are Microsoft Internet Explorer (on Windows PC), Safari (on Mac), and Firefox (on Mac or PC). I’d like to suggest that you consider downloading the free Firefox browser and using that regardless of whether your computer is a Windows PC or a Mac.

Three reasons to use Firefox are:

  1. It’s fast. Yesterday I was helping a Board member to get acquainted with this SVMHA website, and she kept complaining about how slow her computer was. On a hunch, we took five minutes to download and install Firefox and from then on everything we did was at least twice as fast.
  2. It’s safe. Firefox does frequent updates of your browser by automatically notifying you when potential security issues have been found and fixed. Of all the major browsers, I believe that Firefox is quickest to both identify and to fix the inevitable issues that hackers work so hard to find. Why should you care? Because your computer can be slowed down because it’s busy trying to sell cheap drugs or scams, perhaps helping foreigners gain access to our government and industry, or maybe rummaging around your files looking for bank account info or anything else they might enjoy.
  3. It’s reliable. I have used all three of the above mentioned browsers and several others. Of all these choices, I have found Firefox least likely to crash or cause any problems. Now it also has a lot of cool features your current browser might not have, and there are probably lots of other reasons to consider checking out this great free option, but there is one more reason that’s motivating me to write this: Firefox works really well on our SVMHA website.

“OK, I’m interested. How do I get Firefox?” Here’s what we did yesterday:

  1. We used the old browser (in this case Explorer) to visit the Firefox website run by the non-profit Mozilla corporation (to do that now, click this link):
    http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox
  2. We clicked the “Firefox (latest version) free download” button on that page (the latest version at this writing is 3.6).
  3. We said “yes” to several questions from Microsoft Windows about whether we really wanted to download and run this application, and whether we wanted to make Firefox our default browser. In case you’re wondering, nothing will be deleted and it’s really easy to revert back to using your previous browser as the default and even to delete Firefox if you just can’t get comfy with it. Two of our Board members have now switched to Firefox, and both of them were happy about it.
  4. When a new window opened running Firefox we clicked on the File menu at the top, scrolled down to Import, and clicked something like “Import Settings, Cookies, Favorites (or whatever) from Explorer.”
  5. We closed Explorer and started having fast, safe fun. ūüôā
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JavaScript ON!

I wrote a comment about adding your Personal Profile in the section titled “How to Join SVMHA online.”¬† See that Post for my comment about my JavaScript problem if helpful.

I found I had a problem getting to the right place, then figured it out and wrote the comment.  I made a picture of what to look for when you choose to add you own personal profile.

This is what the page looks like when you’re in the right place and it’s where you can enter your name and any info about you that you want to share with people.¬† (click on picture below to enlarge)

Profile Edit Screen (top-left portion)
Profile Edit Screen top-left portion (click to enlarge)

Clubhouse Photo

OK, so I’ve long contemplated snapping a photo of our Big Yellow Clubhouse, and today I finally did it. Now, is someone willing to take photos of the two gates and post those? I’m thinking at some point SVMHP residents might want to copy them into emails to send friends and family, so as to help them find us. I’ve tried to describe the Clubhouse to friends and family, and they still drive right past it because their mental image is something different.

0660 SVMHP Clubhouse
0660 SVMHP Clubhouse

Taken at the corner of Hang Tree and Stage Coach

Publishing Your First Post on SVMHA

At first you might just look around on this website, and you don’t need to register on the site to see most of it. But after a while we hope you’ll join the discussion. Maybe you’d even like to volunteer and pitch in to help. To get started, just contact us so we can send you the “Invitation” email. That’s a special email sent to you by WordPress with a link in it that you use to begin the signup process. That’s needed before you can add anything to the discussion here. Once you’re signed up and logged in, you’ll notice extra options at the top of your SVMHA screen. You’ll probably want to explore them a little to see what’s there, and eventually you’ll come to the item named “New Post” at the top of the screen. When you click that, something like the following appears in part of your screen:

New Post Screen (on Firefox for the Mac)

At the top is a box to type in the Subject of your Post. Below that is the box where you type in the content of your post. NOTE: The “Kitchen Sink” Extra Tools described below have already been turned on in this example. After you’ve typed in your Subject and the content, you just click on “Publish” at the right. Here’s an example of what your edit screen might look like after you’ve started:

Post Edit Screen with sample text

If you volunteer, you’ll probably want to learn how to edit Pages and will be pleased to discover it’s almost identical. The one extra thing you’ll want to learn is how to use the “Insert/edit Link” icon (looks like a chain link). That way you can add to the list of articles on any Page you’re allowed to edit, like the list of Minutes on the Secretary’s page.

Here’s more info on editing, and what some of that screen’s icons are for:

  • JavaScript (JS) should be turned On in your web browsing software to get the best features including the remainder of the tips described below, but you can do many things even with JS Off.
  • Photos can be included with anything you write on this site by clicking New Post (with JS On) and then clicking the “Add an Image” icon after the words Upload/Insert.
  • Editing Tools such as Bold and Italic icons are in a row beneath the Upload/Insert line and above the input window – pause your mouse on an icon to show its info.
  • Extra Tools playfully named “Kitchen Sink” are turned on/off by clicking the last icon on the main Editing Tools icon line to show another row of icons including those described below.
  • Format tools may be found in the pulldown menu box at the start of the Kitchen Sink row of icons, such as Paragraph for normal text and Heading types (1=Largest).
  • MS Word format files may be pasted into the Edit Page input window by clicking the sixth icon on the second (Kitchen Sink) row of icons.
  • Custom Characters such as the arrow ‚ÜĎ, copyright¬†¬© and heart ‚ô• symbols may be inserted by clicking the omega ő© icon.
  • Help is available while you’re in the Edit Page by simply clicking the ? icon (question mark inside a circle).
  • Curved Arrow icons are for Undo and Redo so it’s easy to experiment with the two rows of icons and be able to undo/redo your changes one by one.
  • When finished just click the Publish or Update button on the right.

NOTE: As an extra safety measure this website automatically tracks every Published version of each Page and Post, and you can use the “Revisions” list at the bottom of the Edit Page/Post screen to revert to any previous version of changes you or anyone else with access has Published to that Page/Post.

How To Sign Up For SVMHA Online

How to Join SVMHA online

Note: These instructions are for Board members and Online Committee volunteers only. This information will not be helpful for residents and owners just using the website.

Once you’re signed up you can easily add Comments to ask questions and help us continue to clarify these instructions and to improve this website. You can also create your own Posts, and even insert photos. Posts can be on any topic, and as more residents check this website it will be a great way to organize and announce things. For example, did you hear about the free tickets?

Note that to get started you first need to receive an “invitation” email from us, sent from our free WordPress service. That step helps to protect our site from unauthorized access and use. When you’re ready to sign up for your free account, just let us know and we’ll send the Invitation to the email address you give us. Once you get that email you could have printed copies of this and our general Help page handy while you sign up. That way you can go step by step, as if we’re answering questions over your shoulder as you go. Pat Hair-Reid says it’s so easy even she can do it!

Please post your Comments on this HowTo and your experience in signing up, so that we can continue to improve things for others! Note that the Online Committee is drafting a set of Use Policies to Post on this website, just to make sure this always remains as friendly a place as our neighborhood.

How to sign up:

1. In the email you receive from “WordPress” click on the link after the words:
“To accept this invitation, visit …”
*NOTE: If clicking doesn’t take you to a signup screen, copy the link and paste it into the Location window of your web browser application to reach the signup website.

2. Be sure you have some handy way to take notes, either on your computer or a pad of paper you’ll be able to find later.

Snapshot of screen
Click to Enlarge

On your web browser’s screen will be a section that says “Get your own WordPress.com account…” and in the “Username” box type in the name you’d like (in this example, “Test” was chosen). Write down this name on your pad or in the file on your computer.

3. Choose a password and be sure to write it down.¬† Note the password strength indicator (“Strong” in this example), that will change as you improve the quality of it.¬† Choosing a Strong password is HIGHLY recommended, to prevent hackers from gaining access to your personal info and potentially that of other users.¬† Strong passwords will contain both letters and symbols.¬† Do NOT use anything easy to figure out, such as common words.¬† An easy method is to make up a “sounds like” phrase containing numbers that’s relevant to SVMHA and all in one word, for example: ta2sv4fun! In other words: Test Account (ta) to (2) San Vicente (sv) for (4) fun!¬† Of course, don’t use that password since the hackers can now find it online and defeat our security.

4. Type in the email address you gave us for the SVMHA Invitation. That’s what we and the website will use for contacting you. Be sure to write it down, along with your username and password!¬† This will also be handy if you lose your password, because the site can email a new one to you.¬† Click the “…terms of service” link if you’d like to see it, or click the “I have read…” box if you’re a trusting person.

5. Choose whether you’d like to just have a username account for access to the SVMHA site, or the pre-selected option which is to additionally start your own ambitious website (blog).¬† Either choice is fine, since you don’t have to ever use the blog that’s created if you forget to click the button we recommend for “Just a username…” That option’s less confusing, and you can always start your own free blog in the future.

6. You’ll be taken to a new screen where you can customize your account a little, but if you do be sure to write down what you put there.¬† Instead though, it’s easier to simply ignore that screen and check your email.¬† Another new email will have been automatically sent to you from WordPress and inside it will be the line “click on the following…”¬† If clicking on it doesn’t work automatically, again you can copy it and paste it into the Location window of your web browsing software.

Log IN and Explore

Now you can log in by visiting the SVMHA website and clicking on “Log IN-Home Pg” at the lower right of every screen under “ADMIN” on the SVMHA website https://svmha.wordpress.com/ This will take you to the SVMHA Home Page, so it will be familiar and your web browser may have an option to automatically remember your name and password for convenience.¬† You can also click the “Remember Me” button on the login screen so that the website may remember you too (note this may not always work depending on your browser settings, so be sure to keep the signup info you wrote down). The other option for “Log IN-Dashboard” might be handy later, especially if you’re given the Role of Editor or Administrator.

Post a Hello

A great way to begin as a Board member or Online Committee volunteer is to add a Comment or even Publish a Post (see Publishing Your First Post on SVMHA). Add your Comments to let us know about any problems you encountered in getting signed up, or ideas you have about what might make it easier.

Dashboard

If you’re feeling comfortable browsing the website and writing Comments or Posts, it’s probably time to explore the Dashboard. When you’re logged in, a gray bar shows up across the top of the SVMHA screen (if it doesn’t, make sure you have JavaScript turned on in your web browser software). The gray bar looks something like the following, captured from the upper-left corner of the SVMHA website using a Mac and the Firefox web browsing software:

Logged In Header Area
Note the gray Logged In header bar at top

While logged IN (anytime the gray bar is visible across the top) you have a bunch of new options to explore. You might start with the “My Account” pull-down menu at the top left, and edit your Profile (but be sure to write down any changes you make).

Notice that the gray bar also has an option for My Dashboard, with more things you can tinker with.¬† Next to the right is New Post, where you can of course create and Publish a new Post of your own. Anyone logged in can create a Post, but if you have the Role of Contributor you won’t be able to edit anything including your own Posts. If you have the Role of Author you can both create and edit your own Posts. Anyone with the Role of Editor can edit both their own Posts and those of others, and can also edit Pages. Although the Role of Administrator enables you to do almost anything including Invite and Remove any User, some things done or created by others can not be accessed. Here’s a link in case you’re interested to learn a little more about the four different Roles.

First Post

This is the first post, created just to see how it works. We’ll delete this once there’s another post. Want to create one?

Pages are identified by the Tabs and are for major content areas like Board, Calendar, Photos, President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Welcome (the latter being the “home” page people see first). We’ll use these Pages for information that’s mostly static, and use Posts for other major topics. So for example, the Minutes and Treasurer’s Report would be Posts with Categories added to make them easier to find. I’ve created an “Event Item – informal” Category so that anyone can Post about an event without needing to edit the Calendar page.